première on November 10th 2023 in Opera Ghent.

It’s night. It’s raining outside. We would hear the thunderstorm approaching from afar, if the music wasn’t so loud. Inside the café, the light is dim. The dark red curtains carefully block out the reality. It smells of stale beer, air freshener with summer breeze, sweat and cigarette smoke. The floor is sticky from spilt drinks and crushed ambitions. But make no mistake: here, the air sizzles with boisterous zest for life. With roguish glances, tall tales and good intentions. While the outside world thunders past at a crazy pace, in this pub everyone sings and dances, mourns and celebrates with every fibre of their body. You’re most welcome.

Together with residents of Ghent, Antwerp and Mechelen, director Maja Westerveld creates a performance in which the café becomes their meeting place. She herself is a member of the Mechelen-based company Abattoir Fermé, which alternates musical theatre with visual creations, dance, text theatre and opera. Central to her work are productions for and by a wide audience, regardless of age or culture. In Schemer (Twilight) she brings city dwellers together and weaves their stories into a polyphonic tableau.

direction Maja Westerveld – musical direction Joris Derder, Isaak Duerinck – electronic composition Laurens Mariën – scenography Maja Westerveld, i.s.m. set design Opera Ballet Vlaanderen – costume design Louis Verlinde – lighting design Helmut Van den Meersschaut – choir direction Joris Derder – dramaturgy Sara Vanderieck, Maarten Boussery – assistant director Laura Arens – actors Anne Stoop, Beatrijs Bisschop, Charlotte Debou, Charlotte Warnez, Deborah Federico, Luc Dalemans, Petra Meyns, Sonia Benedetti, Tessa Blokland, Naimo Van der Auwera, Abdel Aziz Jeffali, Adil Goulahsen, Astrid Vingerhoets, Dominique Vilain, Elko Credentino, Ester Van Elewijck, Francoise Leysen, Honey Esohe Azamosa, Hussein Mohammad Bouzi, Ineke Tyriard, Joanna Madclone, Jonathan Tetteh, Karin Schuitema, Lamine Diouf, Matti Cools, Melissa Heirman, Mounira El Rhaiyel, Osman Korkmaz, Pierre Van Mossevelde, Roman Credentino, Sara Dandois, Sarina Youssef, Siege Dehing, Yassine Farouk, André Ceulemans, Bo Quirynen, Chris Laureys, Elke Maes, Erik Beullens, Guy Goedseels, Lei Qiu, Miek Desouter, Timothy Campbell, Tugba Akgun, Leo Buys, Roksolyana Sydor, Anna Nicole and Nataliya Ostopova – singers SOPRANO: Lotte Van Gastel, Annemie Clarysse, Berit Lagaet, Jana De Meulenaere, Phebe Wittevrongel, Jutta Crois, Tineke Van Nieuwenhuyse ALTO: Lies Decock, Aline Vercruyssen, Sofie Van Bever, Joke Van Gastel, Annick Claerhout TENOR: Sybrandt Dijkstra, Harald Devos, Pieter Pauwels, Joeri Van Heijningen, Philippe Pede, Freek Van Baelen BASS: Bram Vancompernolle, Frederic Cotman, Guido De Roo, Koen Van Vaerenbergh, Maarten Vanoverbeke, Steven Lecompte, Hugo Schittecat – production Opera Ballet Vlaanderen – coproduction kunstencentrum nona / Abattoir Fermé in partnership with Chamber Choir Koriolis.